Durham Development Watchlist - December 2020

Exciting development watchlist this month to round out the year! After a few short, but still interesting updates, it feels as though new project applications have had a mini-explosion over the past couple of months.

A. Northgate Park Mixed Use - 1103 W Club Blvd

This is reportedly a restaurant and office space, on a small site right across from Northgate mall. I found this project exciting for a couple of reasons, the main one being that it is a mixed use project on only .404 acres. Small development in the urban tier is great, but often financially infeasible. Mixed use seems even more difficult. I would love to hear the details on this one!

I can also tell you that the City of Durham didn't help in terms of mixed use. There is a section of the Durham code that provides benefits for mixed use project including fewer parking spaces required, etc. However, the minimum site area is 4 acres. Overall, the Durham code restricts small developers and caters to larger ones, which I think should be addressed.

B. North Durham Development - 4630 Guess Rd

This project is in the suburban tier (I typically highlight projects in the urban tier), but it is in an interesting part of North Durham where Guess Rd meets Latta Rd. The project description is:

"Proposed development will be commercial general and planned development residential in nature and will include townhome residential and some commercial. Up to 55,000SF of commercial development and townhome residential at a ratio of 10.000 units per acre."

The text makes it sound as though there is very limited commercial, but "up to 55,000SF of commercial" seems relatively substantial. Right now, this project is only in the rezoning phase.

C. Mangum Apartment Building - 509 N Mangum St

This is a proposed 182-unit multifamily building directly south of Mangum Flats. Wow - this area continues to see action. There are so many residential projects around Old Five Points. Let's do a quick review of recent and upcoming projects:

509 N Mangum - this project
515 N Mangum - Mangum Flats
521 N Mangum - condos
524 N Mangum - Eleven townhomes
608 N Mangum - townhomes
108 Broadway - Leyland Post
211 W Corporation - townhomes
606 N Roxboro - condos
603 N Queen - Elliott Square townhomes

Phew! I would LOVE to be the owner of those fantastic Old Five Points commercial buildings right now. I think we see those come to life in the next few years.

D. Durham Belt Line Progress - 949 Washington St

949 Washington Street is the office redevelopment that I have posted here before (former Brame Warehouse). The description of the project is "100' segment of Belt Line Trail". This piqued my interest, so digging a little further, I found the following statement within a public document:

"This project is located adjacent to 949 Washington St. and is part of a Development Agreement between the City of Durham and the adjacent 949 Washington Site Plan (D200158). As part of the Development Agreement the developer of the 949 Washington site has agreed to construct a portion of the Belt Line Trail."

It is great to see movement on the Belt Line, even if it is a small section .

E. Elizabeth St Apartments - 574 Liberty St

It looks as though plans are moving forward for the affordable housing redevelopment of Liberty St Apartments (changing names to Elizabeth St Apartments). Glad to see that the city's and DHA's plans are moving forward during the pandemic.

Side Note: Cell Towers

Since I started monitoring the development applications with the city, I have started noticing a type of development that appears more than any other: cell towers. I don't typically put these into these Watchlist posts for obvious reasons, but in aggregate, it is interesting to see that each month, I would guess that there are an average of 3 or 4 applications for new cell towers or cell tower changes. I don't know much about the world of 5G and what the infrastructure needs are, but there is certainly a lot of real estate activity in the sector.

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